Euan Simpson, Butchery at Bowhouse Assistant

24 June 2022

As a young child I lived on our farm, but like many small family farms in the 1980’s it ceased working before I had much experience of farming life.  However, I made up for it spending summers when I was older on my aunt’s farm where she kept various rare breeds of cattle, sheep and pigs.  I didn’t go into farming though, I went into retail management, which was where I stay until the COVID pandemic refocused what was important in my life.

I’ve always been passionate about fresh, organic and local produce, and it was always a dream to learn about butchery and the skills involved so when I saw an advertisement for a job as a butchery assistant at The Butchery at Bowhouse I leapt at the chance as it seemed the perfect opportunity to follow my dream.

When I joined the team Sophie was running the butchery and she passed on to me so much of her experience and passion for whole carcass butchery, along with the skills required to break down the beautiful produce we receive from Balcaskie and present it at its absolute best to our customers.  I’ve also learned so much from the team at Balcaskie about how the animals are cared for and raised and can give feedback to show just how that care reflects in the high quality of our product.

As others have mentioned in the blogs no two days are the same, although I can always be found in the butchery – unless I’m out on deliveries.

A typical week for me starts with receiving carcasses from the abattoir. It could be beef, mutton, lamb, or pork and the type of meat will dictate how long it should hang in the chill to age before it’s broken down into products for sale.  I’ll then sort out our wholesale orders and get them delivered, and sort out any orders that have come in through the Link online shop. Finally getting the stock sorted for the shop and can get my counter display done for the Thursday, Friday and Saturday that the Butchery’s shop is open to the public.

Market weekends, and the week preceding them, are different though.  There are so many more customers visiting that we usually try to expand our range of products to showcase the exceptional quality of the meat reared on the estate, which means so much more work to do and sometimes a few late nights getting everything ready depending on how busy the shop is during the week.  It’s great to talk with our customers about our products, to let them know how the animals were raised, the time and care involved, how being organic, pasture for life, and food meters rather than food miles, mean that the quality of our meat is second to none.  And that ethos extends all the way into our products – the kebabs, skewers, curry packs, burgers have no artificial colours or preservatives added, and we also make up the rubs and glazes from fresh herbs and spices to compliment the flavours of the meat. I also enjoy introducing customers to different products and cuts of meat that they might not have heard of, or simply didn’t think about using, and I can also pass on a recipe or two.

I’m looking forward to the July market, albeit slightly anxiously, as Sophie won’t be here to help out for this one.  For sure it will be challenging, a lot of hard work, but the feedback from returning customers about how much they enjoyed the cut I suggested, or the burgers they tried, or the flavour of the steaks, make it all worthwhile.

On a final note, I’m blessed to be not only part of the Balcaskie family but also be based at Bowhouse and surrounded by other traders, who have also accepted me as “one of their own”.  My only issue with this is the quality of food the other traders produce is so good I’m glad my job is pretty physical, or I would definitely need a gym membership!

Drop into the Butchery anytime the shop is open or catch me at the market weekends.




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